For as long as I can remember, there have always been two types of Christmas celebrations. The first involves Santa, gifts and an endless supply of commercials featuring the jolly elf pitching everything from soft drinks to vacations. The other is the religious celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. I’ve rarely seen the two combined. In this politically correct society that we live in, we go out of our way to not offend anyone. Santa Claus is great for the kids, especially the younger ones, when his story involves sharing, caring and being good to each other. But lets not forget why Christmas came to be. Discussion with the organizers and even some parents will give you an idea of which approach your event should take.
The Christmas season is really a great time for the kids. Especially when they still believe in Santa. There are a few versions of Christmas parties designed for different groups, but they all have the same excitement when Santa Claus arrives. Most have the traditional snacks, songs and a few games before the jolly elf himself arrives. Christmas parties should be held on a Saturday or Sunday and preferably not in November!
If the group of kids know each other, such as a school class group, playgroup or church group, organizers can arrange for the parents of each child to discreetly bring in a wrapped gift valued at no more than $10.00 and is marked with the child’s name. The gifts would be collected and placed into Santa’s sack. When Santa is seated in his chair, he’ll call the first name, invite that child to sit on his knee and give them their gift. It is important to keep the “flow” of kids going to avoid having the others become bored while they wait. Once one child has left Santa’s lap, the next one should be on their way up.
While growing up I spent a considerable amount of my time at the local Boy’s Club (later to become the Boys and Girls Club), as did most of the kids in the area where he lived. The neighborhood was filled with kids from various home environments. Some kids were well off, others like Brian, had enough to get by, while others didn’t have very much at all. But the one special event that stood out from all the others was the annual Christmas party. The event was open to all children regardless where they lived or their financial situation.
Every year, area merchants, service groups and individual donors would donate food and gifts to the party. For many, it was the only gift and Christmas celebration they would have. The highlight of course was seeing Santa. Kids were organized by age groups and were brought up one at a time for their gift. No one ever left without a gift. This is the one special event that I would like to see in every community and encourage people to do it for the kids.
Christmas carols are always a favorite with the kids. For added fun, listen to the kids sing. You’ll find different versions and words used that make the songs very amusing. By the way, who is “Olive the other reindeer” anyway?